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Old Parking Meters Could Turn Into 'Homeless Donation' Collectors

Photo by okarol via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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There are hundreds of old, unused parking meters in the city, and now officials are studying a proposal to convert them into "homeless donation" collectors that would enable people to feed the meter and have the funds distributed to local service organizations.

The motion was introduced recently by Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, as inspired by blogger Brigham Yen's "Downtown Rising" site, according to a newsletter issued by Huizar's office. Yen points to a "donation meter" program in place in Denver, Colorado:

The idea behind [Denver's] red homeless donation meters is simple. Instead of giving change to a panhandler on the street, a person who feels compelled can donate their change into these meters, which then goes directly to affiliated missions and homeless care and prevention programs. In fact, Denver’s donation meter program has been so successful, $100,000 is raised annually through 36 meters placed strategically around Downtown Denver.

As blogged by Yen, and echoed by Huizar in his motion, the meters could potentially curb panhandling, and enable more people to potentially donate quietly and privately without handing change over to someone they encounter on the street.

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"Huizar’s proposal comes as the city is slated to complete the transition from old parking meters to the new digital, card compatible meters by the end of this month," notes Los Angeles Downtown News. There are 1,140 underutilized meters slated for removal by the City.